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Pelvic Pain Support Network
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After a Well Woman appointment!

Hi everyone

Well I went to my Well Woman clinic. I had The opportunity to talk to a woman doctor within my normal surgery practice. (Important for all sorts of reasons!) We went through all my symptoms. This is the update.

1. As a 74 year old woman who had a hysterectomy in 1980 my problem is not unique! (Confidence boost)

2. All the pelvic floor exercises in the world would not have helped my situation and it definitely wasn’t my fault. Perhaps being an avid gardener and an enthusiast DYI didn’t help the situation! My mentality is I can do anything for anybody, hence recently sorting out my ‘younger OAP’ neighbours shed!

3. It happens as we age and everything heads south. My vaginal wall had progressed it’s ‘way ‘out’ and was sitting in the vaginal entrance (which was what I saw and panicked!) so........... she suggested she insert a pessary there and then and ‘see how it goes’ I was happy with that as after a long chat it’s important to get things in perspective and to make sure all angles are investigated before even thinking of surgery, although it might come to that later on down the line.

4. I’m the sort of person who wants all details and possible answers, so a pessary was the first step. She also gave me VAGIFEM to be inserted every night for at least a month, more if needed. She normally initially gave VAGIFEM (to harden up the vagina, and is a sex hormone!!!! As if I needed that!!!!!) before inserting a pessary but decided I was sensible and could cope with a silicon pessary and insert VAGIFEM at the same time!

5. That pessary was ‘too big’ and very uncomfortable and I had a discharge too so after tolerating it for 4 days I had it taken out and a smaller one was inserted. Suffice to say here, that I didn’t know what to expect the pessary would do, so I soldiered on!!! Not the most painless thing! This one was OKsh - I was still very aware of something up inside me and continued to have discomfort when walking, although once it had settled I didn’t feel it when I was sitting down with my feet up. So after a week I had that removed also. We decided I should continue with the VAGIFEM whilst letting everything heal (I was still getting a discharge). A 2 week ‘rest’ from the any further pessaries was agreed.

So where am I now - I’m being careful about position on the loo by keeping knees together (I tended to splay them before!) and I have got the dragging feeling back and the period like tummy aches have returned, but I can still feel (with finger) that the offending bulge has migrated down a bit but it’s managable. I’m still a bit sore around the vaginal entrance but I’m trying to take it easy. I’m seeing her again early December and we will decide whether to try another smaller pessary or start the process of a future operation. Hopefully the VAGIFEM will have been helpful and although it’s a pain having to insert something ‘up there’ every night it’s OK.

I want to avert having an operation, but if I go through all the various stages and they don’t work then I’m having the operation as I don’t want it later on when maybe I won’t be as overall healthy!

One thing I would recommend is that everyone make appointments well in advance with doctors when I’m trying something out. I can always ‘cancel’ if I do t need the appointment but trying to get a well timed one when you want it is getting more difficult, although we do have a ‘walk in’ surgery every morning, so I can always go to that, but having a specific appointment is always best if you want to discuss anything!!!

Sorry it’s so Long!

39meridian

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Nightly Vagifem is usually only for 2 weeks then its used twice weekly and if it works you will need to continue using it, stopping it will just reverse any good its done, I've been on it for years.

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Thank you

Yes that’s what I was told originally. However, when I had the second pessary out my Dr said to take VAGIFEM nightly until I saw her again on 1st December, when she will probably insert a smaller pessary, in her words she wants to make sure my undercarraige is in a better condition!

She didn’t say anything about taking it forever!!!! As I’m not sexually active maybe this is a consideration?

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I hope you get things sorted soon, dealing with all our problem " lady bits" is no fun at all ☹️

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Hi

Thanks - one thing I thought about asking you after i had replied!

As you’ve been using VAGIFEM for years I would appreciate your advice.

Sorry to be blunt and I dont know what age you are but why are you taking VAGIFEM?

I don’t want to have to take VAGIFEM forever, but was under the impression it was essential to get my undercarraige ready for a pessary!

Anyway after a week without a pessary my vagina is still itching and I’m not sure it’s doing anything positive. Do you think i should stop using VAGIFEM??

I’m trying to do the right thing and in the right order to ensure if I do need an operation I’ve been through the right system.

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It takes weeks for Vagifem to take full effect, I can't remember if it says on the patient leaflet or not but 8-12 weeks rings a bell.

I'm 63 and ive been using topical hrt ( Vagifem) for at least 10 years as I have really bad vaginal atrophy, I also have to use Replens moisteriser otherwise I'm in agony !

I can't say whether you should stop it or not but if it's only been a week perhaps best to give it a bit longer and if you don't suffer with atrophy you may not need it long term, a lot of these things are trial and error, can get tiresome after a while but it's great when we find something that works.

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I have been using Ovestin since my operation 16 months ago and before but will continue to use it to keep my vagina in good order and stop Atrophy. Also if you have a small prolapse this cream can help reduce it.

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That sounds great - so glad you've found someone to talk to and hopefully are on the way to resolving the issue.

I'm moving to Cornwall in just over a week so, after waiting over a year for my op, they gave me a date - December 17. I replied that I'd just have moved and wasn't able to come back north 200 miles to have an op and then be left with no house to return to except in Cornwall, and not being able to drive or move too much in a new area where I know nobody? Not a great idea!

I asked to talk to someone and was left hanging until Weds last week when I got a call to say i'd missed my appointment. What appointment? Turned out they wrote me a letter on the Monday, appt at 11.30 Tues, letter arrived with the post 12 noon Weds. I said I'd had no notice but could come in straight away so I went in on Tues and saw a gynae nurse who was great, changed the pessary, said it all looked fine, and prescribed Vagifem as for you. She suggested seeing how it went and seeing a physio in Cornwall for exercises.

So no need to be rushed through an operation as yet - the consultant gave no other option! - and I'll keep going as I am as long as it stays good.

This has been frustrating in the extreme, purely down to lack of communication and empathy. Keep pushing, ladies - as the UN rapporteur said: 'If things go wrong, you're on your own', so don't take No for an answer and keep asking for advice and help. It's the only way you'll get anywhere!

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Please try everything before considering surgery. I was NOT offered any treatment at all except an operation, which did not go well. I have been left in a great deal of pain and am now on Gabapentin, Vagisil and Betnavate all due to nerve damage. I may have been a bit uncomfortable prior to surgery but it was definitely preferable to the state I am in now.

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